MerleFest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce the first round of artists for MerleFest 2022, which will be held April 28-May 1, 2022. Emmylou Harris, Greensky Bluegrass, Rissi Palmer, and more will be joining the annual homecoming of musicians and music fans on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. 2022 marks MerleFest’s return to its traditional Spring weekend after being postponed to September in 2021. Check out Rolling Stone’s recap of the 2021 festival here. “We are very excited to welcome music fans back to the campus of Wilkes Community College in the Spring,” says MerleFest’s new Festival Director, Wes Whitson. “Endless gratitude to all artists, staff, volunteers, vendors, and fans for their patience and support for the 2021 festival. Our team has put together another great lineup for 2022 and we’re looking forward to sharing 4 days of the very best in traditional+ music with fans.” MerleFest 2022 will be Greensky Bluegrass’s first time on the bill and Emmylou Harris’s 12th appearance—highlighting the importance MerleFest places on both discovery and community within its lineups.
In addition to those mentioned above, the following artists and bands are set to appear at MerleFest 2022: Andy May, Banknotes, Carol Rifkin, Charles Welch, Donna the Buffalo, Happy Traum, Jack Lawrence, Jeff Little Trio, Jerry Douglas, Jim Lauderdale, Joe Smothers, Kruger Brothers, Laura Boosinger, Mark Bumgarner, Mitch Greenhill, Pete & Joan Wernick, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Presley Barker, Roy Book Binder, Sam Bush, Scythian, T. Michael Coleman, The InterACTive Theatre of Jef, The Local Boys, The Waybacks, Tony Williamson, and Wayne Henderson. Additional artists will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets for next year’s festival are on sale now and may be purchased at www.MerleFest.org or by calling 1-800-343-7857. Festival vendor and volunteer application windows are now open. Please visit merlefest.org/vendors or merlefest.org/volunteer to sign up.
MerleFest 2022 will host its second annual MerleFest Mega Raffle to support scholarships at Wilkes Community College. Tickets are on sale now. The Mega Raffle drawings will be held during the festival on Sunday, May 01, 2022, at the Raffle/Silent Auction Tent beginning at 1:00 p.m. Over $170,000 in cash and prizes will be awarded. Only 5,000 tickets will be sold, and ticket holders do not have to be present to win. Raffle tickets are $100 each and include two entries to the MerleFest Mega Raffle drawings. To purchase tickets or for more information visit www.merlefest.org/megaraffle.
About Emmylou Harris (Performing Sunday):
A 14-time Grammy winner and Billboard Century Award recipient, Emmylou Harris’ contribution as a singer and songwriter spans 40 years. She has recorded more than 25 albums and has contributed her talents to countless fellow artists’ recordings. In recognition of her remarkable career, Harris was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2008 and earned a Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 2018. Harris is known as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her incomparably expressive singing. Admired through her career for her talent as an artist and song connoisseur, Harris shook up country radio in the 1970s and established herself as the premiere songwriter of a generation selling more than 15 million records and garnering 14 Grammy Awards, three CMA Awards, and four Americana Awards. Harris is one of the most admired and influential women in music. She has recorded with such diverse artists as Linda Ronstadt, Daniel Lanois, Bob Dylan, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young, Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Roy Orbison, Ryan Adams, Beck, Elvis Costello, Johnny Cash, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, and Rodney Crowell. Few artists have achieved such honesty or have revealed such maturity in their writing. Forty years into her career, Harris continues to share the hard-earned wisdom that—hopefully, if not inevitably—comes with getting older, though she’s never stopped looking ahead. A longtime social activist, Harris has bestowed her voice to many causes. Most passionately to animal welfare. She established Bonaparte’s Retreat with the goal of rescuing shelter dogs and adopting them into forever homes in Metro Nashville and surrounding counties.
About Greensky Bluegrass (Performing Friday):
Since their 2000 formation in Kalamazoo, MI, the quintet—Anders Beck [dobro], Michael Arlen
Bont [banjo], Dave Bruzza [guitar], Mike Devol [upright bass], and Paul Hoffman [mandolin]—have unassumingly progressed into a phenomenon on their own terms with the
undying support of a devout audience. Rolling back and forth across North America on successive tours, they recently sold out 3 nights at Red Rocks, a feat unheard of in their genre. In 2019, All For Money marked their second #1 debut on the Billboard Top Bluegrass Albums Chart and third straight Top 3 entry. They’ve also earned critical acclaim from Billboard, Parade, NPR, and Rolling Stone who hailed them as “representing the genre for a whole new generation.” As always, the band embraces tradition, ushering bluegrass forward on their eighth full-length offering, Stress Dreams. “Greensky is and always has been very unique in our world,” observes Paul. “We put our love, energy, and focus into what we appreciate about our music. We come together as a band in a way that’s organic. We take a lot of pride in how we grow and challenge each other too. We’re maturing together. I think we get more Greensky all of the time.”
About Rissi Palmer (Performing Friday):
Rissi Palmer’s gift lies in reaching across all musical boundaries. While she made her mark in Country Music, she is equally at home in R&B music, bringing the entire spectrum of popular music to bear on music she calls “Southern Soul.” In 2007, she released her debut album Rissi Palmer, charting singles, “Country Girl,” “Hold On To Me,” and “No Air.” Since then, Rissi has independently released a Christmas single, her first children’s album, Best Day Ever, and an EP titled The Back Porch Sessions. Her most recent album, Revival, was released in 2019 and has been critically hailed as her most personal and uplifting work to date. A few highlights throughout her musical career include performances at The White House, New York’s Lincoln Center, and multiple appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. She has toured extensively across the country, sharing stages with Taylor Swift, The Eagles, Chris Young, Charley Crockett, and many more. Rissi has also made numerous national appearances on Oprah & Friends, CMT Insider, CNN, CBS This Morning, GMA, Entertainment Tonight, and FOX Soul’s “The Book of Sean,” and has been featured in Associated Press, Essence, Huffington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, NPR’s “All Things Considered,” PEOPLE, Rolling Stone, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, to name a few.
As a passionate voice for country artists of color and those who have been marginalized in mainstream country music, Rissi launched her own radio show Color Me Country with Rissi Palmer on Apple Music Country. In conjunction with her radio show, Rissi created the Color Me Country Artist Grant Fund designed to support new country artists of color who are just beginning to build their music careers. Most recently, Rissi has become an official Special Correspondent for CMT’s Hot 20 Countdown. The weekly series airs Saturdays and Sundays on CMT at 9a/8c and features chart-topping music videos, news stories, live performances, and candid interviews from country’s biggest stars.
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel, and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock, and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 12 stages during the course of the multi-day event. MerleFest is the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects, and other educational needs.